Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) is the real-life personification of the term, “Black Sheep.” Coming from a family of well-respected doctors, Doug is a less-than-cerebral tough guy who works as a bouncer specifically called upon to rough up unruly customers. His luck begins to change, however, when his friend Ryan (Jay Baruchel) takes him to a minor league hockey game during which he lays a beating on an opposing player. This catches the eye of the team’s coach and soon Doug has suited up and become a local celebrity. Even more remarkable, Doug is soon called up to a real minor league team and tasked with protecting Xavier Laflamme (Marc-Andre Grondin), a young hotshot who has lost his way since a violent on-ice hit from longtime enforcer Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber). While Doug initially struggles with his role as a goon who isn’t valued as a hockey player, he and his teammates come together with a playoff berth on the line, setting up a dramatic confrontation between the old veteran (Rhea) and the young upstart (Doug).
There isn’t just a whole lot that can be said about Goon other than this: it is fun. Not an excessive, “I can’t wait to see that again” amount of fun but a reasonable, “This just popped up on HBO and I have 90 minutes to kill” amount of fun. The movie doesn’t have much of an agenda and there isn’t much of a plot to speak of, but it sets out to cover the life of a minor league hockey enforcer and it does that quite well. I’ve never been much of a hockey guy so I have no idea where this movie ends up on the “realistic” scale but it is at least as believable as The Mighty Ducks which is, I think we can all agree, the gold standard for hockey movies. (I’m half kidding there.) Goon is predictable and overtly paint-by-numbers but it is not without charm and it handles its subject matter with a light-hearted affection.